ABC Kitchen is one of those places everyone is still trying to get into five years later (Jean-Georges’ restaurant won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant). It offers a rotating seasonal menu full of fresh vegetables, local and organic ingredients and creative sauces and garnishes. The crab toast and popcorn ice cream sundae have become pretty synonymous with ABC Kitchen unless you live under a rock. The space is enclosed or right next to the best design store ever, ABC Home. This is part of what makes the restaurant so successful and cheerful. The lights, airy space and way you feel inside is what also keeps people coming back. Even the gorgeous floral plates that don’t match each other are delightful and add to the meal. The staff pays close attention to detail to ensure your experience is just as good as the last. While the infamous Crab Toast with Lemon Aioli is quite a treat, I have fallen to love their special toasts of the day even more. The Roasted Kabocha Squash Toast with Fresh Ricotta and Apple Cider Vinegar cannot be beat. It’s sweet, cheesy and the squash melts into the bread. When you bite into it, you taste a crunch from the crust. Yeah, that’s right. Oh and you can just surrender during summer when they feed you ramp and goat cheese toast with a homemade pesto spread. I’ve seemed to enjoy the appetizers more than the entrees lately. There’s always some kind of salad overloaded with greens, snap peas, shishito peppers or something else. The Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crunchy Seeds and Sour Cream has been on the menu since day one. These days every restaurant is trying to shape up their carrots and make Bugs Bunny look cool again, but you saw it here first.
With a menu full of so many different vegetables, purees, cheeses and protein, you might feel guilty or underwhelmed to order one of the Whole Wheat Pizzas, but get past it. The dough on these things are fluffy yet crunchy and delicious. Share one of these pies for the table. The Mushrooms with Parmesan, Oregano and a Farm Egg that oozes across the board onto each piece is a great little carb to throw into your dinner amongst all of the other delicately and ornate green dishes. I rarely order salmon at dinner because this is probably one of the only dishes I can cook myself- it’s true. I rather go for the whole branzino, seabass or tuna. However, I broke the rules and chose the Sautéed Skuna Bay Salmon with Sweet and Spicy carrot sauce and roasted carrots and basil. Basil is a sweet spot to me, and I’ve never seen a carrot sauce so I had to test it out. The deep orange color wasn’t a surprise. It’s drenched over the piece of fish but feels real and light compared with other oily and sugary sauces that you might find on another piece of fish somewhere else. That’s what I like about ABC Kitchen- they use real ingredients to prepare sauces and garnishes for exploding flavoring. ABC Kitchen really offers something for everyone involved which is why it’s a destination for any situation whether it be for parents, a birthday, business meeting, out of towner, etc. Don’t be fooled by all the healthy options or fancy herbs, they offer Fried Organic Chicken and a Cheese Burger, too. From this chef you know it has to be a little more high end than your usual hole in the wall, greasy burger spot.
Loved the tender broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce, mint and lemon for a side, but the brussels sprouts with apples and herbs were less on the crunchy/crispy side that I usually prefer. For dessert, it’s pretty much impossible not to order the Sundae with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Candied Peanuts, Popcorn and Chocolate Sauce. The chocolate sauce is perfectly painted around the rim of the bowl making it look and taste like a master piece. The large size ice cream scoop portion is much appreciated. I do have to say, however, that the Chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Ganache with Toasted Marshmallow Icing was a bit a of a disappointment to me. The cake wasn’t rich or dense enough for my high dessert standards, but in their defense, I also don’t think that’s what they were going for. Regardless, they should have because a moist and deep chocolatey cake is always best.
ABC Kitchen will always thrive, the menu will always be exciting and they keep the classics and change the menu enough to keep the regulars familiar and happy. It might not be the most life changing dish you’ve ever tried, but the stellar decor and service will keep it high on that pedestal. Try to make your reservations a month in advance to guarantee entrance, or just swing by one night and sit at the bar for a Caramel Ice Cream Sundae.